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Cannabis bill approved by congressional committee (Newsletter: Sep. 14, 2018)

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Neil deGrasse Tyson defends Elon Musk’s toking; Feinstein signs onto marijuana bill; Poll: doctors back legalization

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee approved legislation to force the Department of Justice to issue more licenses to grow marijuana to be used in research. The move comes despite opposition from some drug policy reform groups and Democrats who objected to a provisions preventing people with certain criminal records from participating in the cultivation operations. Republican leaders agreed to revisit the language as the bill moves to the floor.

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson warned people not to smoke marijuana in space, but he did defend Elon Musk’s recent on-camera cannabis consumption:

  • “Let the man get high if he wants to get high.”

In one of the clearest signs yet that the politics of marijuana have shifted irrevocably towards legalization, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)—long one of Congress’s more ardent drug warriors—signed onto a bill to end federal cannabis prohibition.

A poll found that strong majorities of physicians, pharmacists, nurses and psychologists support legalizing marijuana, with even stronger support for medical cannabis.

/ FEDERAL

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection official spoke about how the federal government will deny U.S. entry to Canadians who work or invest in the marijuana industry.

The U.S. attorney for Utah spoke about how marijuana will continue to be illegal under federal law even if the state legalizes medical cannabis.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted 18-3 to approve the nomination of Jim Carroll to serve as director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in a case against medical cannabis business operator Charles Lynch that it did not need to reach the question of whether the congressional appropriations rider barring federal interference in state medical marijuana laws annuls previously properly obtained convictions, remanding the question of whether he was in compliance with California law back to a lower court:

  • “In short, the rider may mean that Lynch has some argument that the government cannot now spend money to prosecute him, but if and only if Lynch had been strictly compliant with California law.”

Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) tweeted, “I spoke today against the continuing debacle of marijuana Prohibition and for expanding federal research into marijuana’s medicinal value. Let’s stop criminalizing our own population.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “While John Boehner and other executives are profiting from marijuana, hundreds of thousands of Americans continue to get arrested for possession every year — mostly from communities of color. The #MarijuanaJusticeAct will finally end this double-standard.”

/ STATES

A Michigan judge issued an injunction against the state’s plan to close certain medical cannabis businesses that missed a licensing deadline.

Oklahoma House Democrats are calling for a special legislative session to address medical cannabis regulations.

Ohio’s state auditor said regulators exceeded their legal authority by awarding additional medical cannabis cultivation licenses, and identified weaknesses in how they protected application data.

New York Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, although she lost the nominating contest, took credit for the marijuana legalization evolution of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) in her concession speech.

Here’s a look at several Florida court cases concerning the number of medical cannabis business licenses the state can issue.

/ LOCAL

A study found that 75% of local Michigan jurisdictions have moved to prohibit medical cannabis facilities.

/ INTERNATIONAL

More than a dozen Caribbean nations are considering marijuana reforms.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Minnesota adults support legalizing marijuana, 56% – 35%.

An American Academy of Pediatrics paper considered whether providing medical cannabis to minors constitutes child abuse.

/ BUSINESS

Analysts are questioning High Times’s investment strategy amid filings showing sizable losses.

GFA Federal Credit Union is the first financial institution to offer banking services to Massachusetts recreational marijuana businesses.

Cronos Group Inc. named its new marijuana brand Spinach, reasoning that it will not appeal to kids.

Marijuana stocks dropped following news that the U.S. would bar Canadian cannabis investors from entry into the country.

/ CULTURE

Fox 4 in Dallas received a huge amount of criticism for the way it reported that Botham Shen Jean, who was killed in his own apartment by a police officer, had marijuana at home.

Charges for misdemeanor marijuana possession and resisting arrest against NBA player Zach Randolph were dismissed.

Actor Uday Chopra is pushing India to legalize marijuana.

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Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

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Top senator lists federal cannabis reform as priority (Newsletter: January 27, 2021)

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FDA pulls CBD guidance; NM gov talks legal marijuana in State of the State; NY Lt. Gov. on advocates’ equity concerns; NJ police continue arrests

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  • Melissa Kavanagh: “I enjoy the way you report the news. Accurate, relevant, timely access to information is important.  It’s so nice when it’s also well written.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) listed cannabis reform as a top 2021 legislative priority when asked by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

  • “A young man is arrested with a small amount of marijuana in his pocket. He has a criminal record the rest of his life, can’t become a productive citizen—this one won’t hire him, that won’t hire him. Change that. There’s lots to do, and we have to succeed.”

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) spoke in her State of the State address about how legalizing marijuana will create “tens of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in new revenue.”

  • “I have no interest in another year of thousands of New Mexicans eager to get to work and make their future in this industry being told ‘no,’ just because that’s easier than doing the hard work to get to ‘yes.’”

The Food and Drug Administration withdrew pending CBD enforcement guidelines that were under review by the Trump White House. The move comes in response to a Biden administration memo freezing pending rules from the former administration, which could also potentially impact the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s final hemp regulations.

In an interview with Marijuana Moment, New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) reacted to advocates’ concerns about new cannabis crimes that would be created by the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) legalization proposal, its lack of home cultivation rights and the amount of funding it directs to social equity efforts. These issues are all on the table for changes by lawmakers, she said.

  • “Much of it is going to be negotiated with the legislature, and all these details can be resolved with their input as well.”

A new analysis shows that Newark, New Jersey police continue to make marijuana arrests at pre-legalization levels even though voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum to end prohibition and the state attorney general told prosecutors to pause cannabis cases—a directive he recently extended.

/ FEDERAL

President Joe Biden signed an executive order ending the federal government’s use of private prisons.

A federal court ruled that although marijuana is decriminalized in Maryland, binding precedent held that its odor coming from a person was probable cause for arrest.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) posted a Twitter thread about efforts to eliminate private prisons, saying, “Whether we’re talking about the War on Drugs or the war on people who’ve come here seeking a better life, allowing profit into the equation creates a situation where what is right, or logical, or even most efficient is replaced by what will bring financial gain.”

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and lawmakers have not made progress resolving disagreements over provisions in legalization implementation legislation concerning underage people, raising the prospects of a veto.

North Carolina’s attorney general spoke about his support for decriminalizing marijuana and studying broader legalization.

Montana’s attorney general expressed concerns about the impact marijuana legalization will have on the usefulness of existing drug-sniffing dogs.

The Virginia House General Laws Committee heard a presentation on Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) marijuana legalization bill, and the panel’s ABC/Gaming Subcommittee also took up the legislation. Meanwhile, a House Labor and Commerce subcommittee approved a bill providing employment protections for medical cannabis patients. Separately, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe released a criminal justice reform plan that includes legalizing marijuana and expunging records. He also tweeted, “Equitable legalization of marijuana is crucial to making VA fairer for all… Let’s do this!”

North Dakota House and Senate committees held hearings on bills to amend the state’s medical cannabis program.

Top Vermont lawmakers are concerned that Gov. Phil Scott’s (R) delay in nominating members to the state’s new cannabis regulatory board could slow the launch of legal sales.

Illinois regulators sent notices to marijuana craft cultivation, infusion and transportation license applicants about how they can improve their proposals.

A Missouri appeals court upheld a lower ruling finding that Metrc can’t charge separate fees to the state and medical cannabis dispensaries in addition to its $5 million contract to oversee licensing of companies and seed-to-sale tracking.

Nevada regulators filed a complaint alleging that Cannex Nevada LLC intentionally gave passing scores to tainted marijuana that should have failed and inflated THC potency results.

A Maryland delegate held a press conference to build support for a marijuana legalization bill he filed.

New York regulars published guidance about the state’s hemp program.

Michigan regulators hosted a podcast about hemp.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 400 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

The Des Moines, Iowa City Council put plans to make marijuana possession the lowest law enforcement priority until state and federal laws change.

The San Diego County, California Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on a proposal to  legalize marijuana businesses in unincorporated areas on Wednesday.

The Mecklenberg County, North Carolina district attorney’s office is no longer prosecuting most marijuana and drug possession cases.

Tucson, Arizona’s Planning Commission will hold a study session on proposed amendments on land use for marijuana businesses on Wednesday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Mexico’s interior secretary said the country will legalize marijuana in the next few months, and at some point should legalize poppies for medical use. Separately, the Sinaloa cartel reportedly plans to use front operations to participate in the country’s legal cannabis industry.

Ukraine’s deputy health minister said he favors legalizing medical cannabis.

The head of Canada’s Conservative Party said he doesn’t support “very serious penalties” for drug possession but dodged a question about decriminalization.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “amongst older adults with hypertension, cannabis treatment for 3 months was associated with a reduction in 24-hours systolic and diastolic blood pressure values.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Medical University of South Carolina is hosting a medical cannabis conference on Friday.

A group of bioethicists published a paper calling for the “immediate decriminalization of all so-called recreational drugs and, ultimately, for their timely and appropriate legal regulation.”

/ BUSINESS

The National  Labor Relations Board’s Philadelphia regional office dismissed unfair labor practice charges against Agri-Kind because it determined the employees in question were agricultural workers who aren’t covered by federal labor law.

Tilray, Inc. was selected by the French National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products to provide medical cannabis products for studies.

Vireo Health International Inc. announced that its Form 10 Registration Statement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission became effective earlier this month.

Field Trip Health Ltd. is opening a psychedelic therapy center in Atlanta, Georgia.

BevCanna Enterprises Inc. announced that its application for a Standard Processing Licence is in the final stages of an in-depth review by Canadian officials.

/ CULTURE

Martha Stewart launched a line of CBD pet products with Canopy Growth Corporation.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Veterans cannabis bill filed in Congress (Newsletter: January 26, 2021)

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DE auditor: Legal marijuana = revenue; NM gov & top lawmaker bullish on legalization; Anti-cannabis ND rep’s legalization bill; New psychedelics org

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) filed a new bill in Congress to protect military veterans from losing their Department of Veterans Affairs benefits for using marijuana. But the new legislation omits a section from last year’s version that would let VA doctors issue written medical cannabis recommendations.

Delaware’s state auditor issued a new report concluding that legalizing marijuana would generate $43 million in annual tax revenue and create more than 1,000 new jobs.

  • “The First State cannot and should not be the last state to approve legalization in the region.”

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said she is “optimistic” the state can boost its economy by legalizing marijuana this year, and the Senate majority leader is also “feeling more confident” about getting it done in 2021. Legalization bills could be unveiled as soon as this week.

A North Dakota Republican lawmaker who opposes legalizing marijuana has filed a bill to do just that. He sees reform as inevitable and wants lawmakers to write the rules, instead of activists who just got approval to collect signatures to put the issue on the 2022 ballot.

  • “I’m not for [legalization] at all, but I understand that it’s coming, and we have to address the issue. I’m trying something different in government—we’re trying to be proactive and not be reactive.”

The Plant Medicine Coalition is a new psychedelics advocacy group that will, among other things, focus on lobbying Congress to appropriate $100 million for research on the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin, ayahuasca, LSD and other entheogens.

/ FEDERAL

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Legalize cannabis, expunge records for nonviolent crimes, and invest in Black and brown entrepreneurs.”

/ STATES

Florida’s agriculture commissioner tweeted, “Medical marijuana patients, like all patients, deserve to be protected from discrimination under our laws.” She also tweeted, “Legalizing marijuana for adult-use makes sense and it’s the right thing to do: ✅Strengthens our economy ✅Starts to right wrongs in our justice system ✅Source of new state revenue”

The Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee held a hearing on a proposed constitutional amendment to block the state from legalizing marijuana or other drugs, and a vote is planned for Wednesday.

The Virginia House General Laws Committee will hear a presentation on marijuana legalization on Tuesday.

New York regulators began accepting applications for hemp retailer and distributor permits.

Michigan regulators sent a bulletin about having marijuana business design plans reviewed by the Bureau of Fire Services.

Montana regulators sent an update on medical cannabis business fingerprinting requirements.

The Oregon Cannabis Commission will meet on Wednesday.

Ohio regulators will consider medical cannabis rules changes on February 2.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 400 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

A New York City mayoral candidate wants to legalize marijuana and psychedelics and issue reparations to people harmed by the war on drugs.

Northampton, Massachusetts is the first municipality in the state to stop charging marijuana businesses an annual “community impact fee.”

Allegheny County, Pennsylvania argued in federal court that it should be able to deny employment at a jail to people who use medical cannabis.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Guyana’s government and opposition are pursuing separate marijuana reform bills.

The leader of Scotland’s Conservative Party said, in response to a question in a Facebook chat, “I am not on magic mushrooms. Indeed there were also no mushrooms in the spaghetti bolognese I had tonight.”

Thailand’s government launched a legal cannabis business registration guide.

The Antigua and Barbuda Cannabis Board granted a provisional permit for a company to grow medical cannabis.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that using hemp products “benefits in cannabis dependence, epilepsy, and anxiety disorders” and that “pre-clinically, hemp derivatives showed potential anti-oxidative, anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-neuroinflammatory, anti-arthritic, anti-acne, and anti-microbial activities.”

A study found “no statistically significant differences in 30-day readmission rates for [irritable bowel syndrome]-specific causes when comparing patients who reported cannabis use with those who did not” but that “cannabis use was associated with reduced 30-day hospital readmission rates for all causes.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Connecticut Democratic Party tweeted about Gov. Ned Lamont’s (D) support for legalizing marijuana.

The Commonwealth Dispensary Association dropped a lawsuit against Massachusetts marijuana delivery rules that favor equity applicants after it lost several of its member businesses in the wake of a boycott.

The Drug Policy Alliance brought on two new board members.

/ BUSINESS

Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. closed a sale leaseback transaction with Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. for a Florida property.

New Cannabis Ventures reportedly obtained a leaked recording of the CEO of iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. and an investor discussing events leading to a plan that will leave current shareholders with just 2.75% of the company.

/ CULTURE

Lil Wayne’s cannabis brand,  GKUA Ultra Premium, is expanding into Colorado.

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AZ adult-use cannabis sales begin (Newsletter: January 25, 2021)

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VA legal marijuana bill clears key committee; WA lawmakers approve cannabis homegrow; SBA weighs in on USDA hemp rule; MO hotel cannabis license bill

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There are now 415 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2021 sessions. 

  • Dave Lewis, former Montana lawmaker: “I worked on the initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in Montana.  I found Marijuana Moment to be very helpful with intelligence on other states.”

Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month.
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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Virginia Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee amended and approved a marijuana legalization bill that was introduced by the governor and top lawmakers. The panel rejected an amendment to strip cannabis home cultivation rights from the legislation, which now heads to the Judiciary Committee.

Arizona recreational marijuana sales officially began after regulators approved applications from existing medical cannabis dispensaries. This is the fastest that sales have launched in any state following voter approval of legalization.

The Washington House Commerce and Gaming Committee approved a bill to legalize marijuana home cultivation. Most other legal states already let adults cultivate their own cannabis, but it’s still a felony in Washington.

The Small Business Administration said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s final revised hemp rules fix a number of problems with the earlier draft but that “some concerns remained unaddressed.”

A Missouri representative filed a bill to create a new “medical marijuana lodging establishment” license to let hotels and Airbnbs allow guests to consume cannabis on site.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said hemp rules it recently filed won’t be placed on hold under an executive order President Joe Biden issued concerning regulations from the final days of the prior administration.

Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) tweeted, “Floridians voted OVERWHELMINGLY in support of #medicalmarijuana & it’s time state laws & employers catch up. Proud to see @TinaPolsky & @DuranForFlorida introduce a bill similar to my Fairness in Federal Drug Testing, protecting vets and other employees who use cannabis legally!”

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Dear Diary, It has been 478 days since @GovernorTomWolf and I first called for immediate decriminalization and a path to legalization of adult-use cannabis. Yet still, no action on this commonsense issue to let people choose for themselves.”

New York’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Not only will legalizing adult-use cannabis be a step towards righting the wrongs of an unjust system, it will provide much-needed revenue for New York!”

South Dakota’s House majority leader and minority leader spoke about efforts to implement voter-approved marijuana initiatives.

The Utah House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee approved a bill to block cities from banning hemp cultivation.

A Florida senator filed a bill to let medical cannabis dispensaries sell recreational marijuana. Separately, Senate Democrats tweeted about another bill to protect public employees from being fired for medical cannabis use.

Hawaii lawmakers filed marijuana legalization legislation.

New Mexico marijuana legalization bills could be filed this week.

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled that a person who purchases a legal amount of marijuana for another person is not guilty of distribution when they transfer it to the person who provided the funds.

Michigan regulators created a marijuana Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Workgroup. Senate Democrats tweeted, “BIPOC communities have suffered the most under the drug war yet benefitted the least from the cannabis industry. We must nip discrimination in the bud via #CJReform & equity programs that strengthen this growing business.”

California regulators sent a notice about restrictions on marijuana billboard advertising. Separately, they proposed emergency regulations on sharing marijuana business information with financial institutions.

Oregon regulators published a draft of marijuana compliance testing requirements.

Colorado regulators will host town halls on marijuana social equity and delivery on Wednesday and on February 11.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 400 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

Detroit, Michigan’s planning commission will hold a hearing on proposed marijuana rules on February 4.

San Francisco, California officials are conducting a survey on the growth of the marijuana industry and the effectiveness of the city’s Cannabis Equity Program.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The government of the Netherlands will continue to allow the supply of cannabis medicines to the UK until July despite Brexit.

The Isle of Man’s parliament approved regulations allowing medical cannabis cultivation.

Spain’s Supreme Court ruled that Catalonia lacks the power to regulate marijuana clubs.

Japan’s government is considering increasing marijuana penalties.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of chronic pain patients found that “approximately one-third of patients in the cohort remained on medical cannabis for six months” and that “pain intensity and pain-related interference scores were reduced and [quality of life] and general health symptoms scores were improved compared with baseline.”

A study found that “cannabidiol can selectively kill a subset of Gram-negative bacteria that includes the ‘urgent threat’ pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that India residents oppose legalizing marijuana, 55%-36%.

The Commonwealth Dispensary Association has lost several of its member businesses in the wake of a boycott over its decision to sue Massachusetts regulators over marijuana delivery rules that favor equity applicants.

Marijuana activist Jason Robert Karimi has been charged by federal prosecutors with allegedly threatening an unnamed member of Congress, including saying he would “cause you pain in every way possible” and “make it so you can’t even walk in anything but a wheelchair.”

/ BUSINESS

HEXO Operations Inc. is voluntarily recalling cannabis vape pens due to a hardware defect.

Choice Consolidation Corp. is a new special purpose acquisition corporation formed by former Cresco Labs and  Green Thumb Industries Inc. executives.

Cresco Labs closed an overnight marketed offering of subordinate voting shares for total gross proceeds of approximately $125 million.

Canadian retailers sold C$261.4 million worth of legal marijuana products in November.

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